MORRISTOWN, NJ – Rutgers senior defensive end Ryan Neill has been selected as one of the semifinalists for the 2005 Draddy Trophy, which is sponsored by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. The Draddy Trophy annually recognizes an individual who has combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership, and is regarded in college football circles as the “academic” Heisman.
Neill has also been nominated for the prestigious 2005 Scholar-Athlete Awards, also sponsored by the NFF. All candidates are nominated by their schools, and must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
Neill, who was elected as a tri-captain of the Rutgers football team prior to the start of the 2005 season, is enjoying an outstanding season for the Scarlet Knights. He is third in the BIG EAST Conference with 10.0 tackles for loss, and fourth with 4.0 sacks. A communication major, Neill, of Wayne, NJ, also has 14 quarterback hurries and has recovered one fumble. Neill was a first-team All-BIG EAST selection in 2004, and led Rutgers with 13.0 tackles for loss, and 8.0 sacks.
The Draddy Award was established to honor former NFF Chairman Vincent dePaul Draddy, who was a quarterback at Manhattan College, and later went on to found the Izod and Lacoste clothing brands. The award comes with a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship and a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy.
Nominees for the Draddy Award, and the NFF’s Scholar-Athlete Awards, come from all NCAA divisisions (I-A, I-AA, II, and III) as well as the NAIA. The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce 15 finalists on Oct. 27, and the winner will be announced at the annual NFF Awards Dinner on December 6.
Former Rutgers cornerback Nate Jones was named to the NFF’s Scholar-Athlete class in 2003. Jones, now a member of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, was also a two-time Academic All-America selection.